Mind & Matter


Homeostatic Façade

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Homeostatic Façade System. Image courtesy of Fast Company.


As Buro Happold manager Matthew Herman stated in his talk at the ARCHITECT magazine 2010 R+D Symposium, adaptive façade technologies are currently precipitating the transformation of buildings from material entities toward energy systems. This change in perspective is appropriate, since the energy used to heat, cool, and light buildings makes up approximately 30 percent of global energy consumption. Despite their potential return on investment, however, automated blinds, louvers, and other shading devices still require energy for their operation.

New York architecture firm Decker Yeadon has proposed a low-energy alternative to automated mechanical systems. Dubbed the "Homeostatic Façade," the architects' prototype system takes advantage of the inherent physical properties of dielectric elastomers (DEs), materials that can undergo plastic deformations with an electric charge and which "reset" themselves to their original shape once the charge is removed.

DY's façade system acts like a flexing muscle in which a mazelike assembly of curvilinear DE surfaces elongate and contract, adjusting the degree of solar shading as needed. Although the current prototype appears too delicate to use on the exterior side of glazing (which is the ideal location to reduce solar heat gain), the ingenious proposal merits further attention concerning thermally adaptive building strategies.



Comments (1 Total)

  • Posted by: francis | Time: 10:51 AM Thursday, February 10, 2011

    Hi I m very intrested in this developpement. I would love to receive more information about it

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About the Blogger

Blaine Brownell

thumbnail image Minnesota-based architect and author Blaine Brownell, AIA, is a self-defined materials researcher and sustainable building adviser. His "Product of the Week" emails and three volumes of Transmaterial (2006, 2008, 2010) provide designers with a steady flow of inspiration—a 21st-century Grammar of Ornament. Blaine has practiced architecture in Japan and the U.S. and has been published in more than 40 design, business, and science publications. The recipient of a Fulbright fellowship for 2006–07, he researched contemporary Japanese material innovations at the Tokyo University of Science. He currently teaches architecture and co-directs the M.S. in Sustainable Design program at the University of Minnesota. His book Matter in the Floating World was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2011.